Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short collection of random Canes notes.
1) The layoff
With a quick three-game sweep of the New York Rangers, the Hurricanes find themselves with an extended layoff before the next game. With a bunch of potential games on Sunday to close things out for the qualification round and the Bruins and Capitals (one of whom will be Canes next-round opponent) also slated for Sunday, best guess is that Hurricanes first game will be next Tuesday. That makes for a full week off between games. While that is not ideal there are a couple positives. First, with the need to win a whole extra round, the break and fewer games should be a positive in the long run. Second, with the Hurricanes returning after a long layoff and successfully finding the ignition switch in the first playoff game, there is reason to believe that the Canes can navigate a one-week layoff.
2) The importance of Dougie Hamilton or Brett Pesce
I touched on this indirectly in yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe. For the long haul of the 2020 NHL playoffs, I think the Hurricanes need either Hamilton or Pesce back in the lineup. As is, I think the Hurricanes are generally competent, but I think also vulnerable to a good team.
3) Picking a foe
Shortly after the Canes won the series against the Rangers, I posted a Twitter poll asking which team Caniacs preferred. The results were an interesting mix.
Who do you prefer for @Canes for next round?
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) August 5, 2020
After Thursday’s action, the Hurricanes are now set to play either the Boston Bruins or the Washington Capitals. But I will consider all four teams anyway. I think some view the Flyers as an answer to ‘Which of these does not belong?” for the four Eastern Conference bye teams. With two more wins in the round robin against good teams, one has to at least consider the fact that the Flyers really are an upper echelon team. The Bruins were the regular season best in the Eastern Conference so far have struggled to two straight losses i the round robin. The Lightning are an interesting option. on the one hand, many consider the Lightning to be among the best in the NHL. But they also faltered to the tune of a surprising four-game first round sweep in 2019. And there there is always the Capitals.
I really like the idea of facing a challenge in the Washington simply because I think there is so much to continued gains to be had by playing a division rival. I most fear Boston even though the team has struggled in the round robin so far.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Are you concerned about the Carolina Hurricanes long layoff heading into the next round of the playoffs?
2) Of the four possible opponents for the next round (Yes. I realize it is now only two.), who would you choose and why? With it now down to the Bruins and Capitals, who would you choose?
3) Who else has random Canes notes/thoughts that they are willing to share?
Before all this, I would have wanted to avoid the Bruins in rd 1 of playoffs. But it does also seem like maybe Boston didn’t come mentally prepared to play. Not just their record in these warm up games, but the drama with Kase and Pastrnak before coming to Toronto.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to beat good teams to advance and both Bruins and Caps are going to be a challenge. Having the chance to knock out Caps two years in a row would be just incredible.
IMO. It is easy to forget the 4 round Stanley Cup playoff marathon has not yet even begun. We rest, heal, and practice for the next opponent while each of the teams we might play remains in the meat grinder. RBA has the proven ability to have his team ready to play. RBA is building the reputation for being able to handle the X’s and O’s of strategy and tactics as well. This break is a clear advantage for the Canes.
The choice of Caps or Bruins is naming your poison. Both teams will know who their next opponent will be when this game begins. While one might be tempted to tank to control their destiny, I expect a slugfest instead. One can only hope that slugfest puts stars from both teams outside the bubble for extended recovery time.
I don’t think the layoff hurts. Both of our potential opponents play on Sunday, against each other. In honesty, if you have to draw one of Boston or Washington, with what I’ve seen, I’d rather it be early that later when they can get on a roll. Both seem a little out of sorts in comparison to others.
1) will lay-off help or hurt? It depends how it is spent. If it is spent resting it will hurt. If the canes use the time for “camp #2”, to sharpen everything and improve conditioning, it will help dramatically. Every single thing has to be worked on to improve it.
2) it doesn’t matter. To be Stanley Cup champions you have to be the best team.
3) Re-slotting Vatanen is helpful in being the best team, Matt pointed out. He is a great player and I love having him on the team, in the right role.
Reading the blank space, what is going on with Dzingel? Why hasn’t he played, and why aren’t there questions about that to RBA? Are the questions off limits? Is he out of shape due to focus on marriage? What is going on?
Nino doesn’t seem to be on top of his game. If Dzingel is in game shape maybe he should get a kick at the can. Doesn’t matter to me who plays – every man is needed – but each needs to step up and contribute every shift.
This is a chance of a lifetime that exactly one team will seize.
1. I am definitely concerned. We came into the playoffs one of the teams most ready to play. We came in, played well, but now we are sitting. It would be natural to have the edge taken off. We will see.
2. I would have chosen PHI. As good as PHI is playing I thought they would be a great next opponent for us – I think we match up well and would well. And they would be a great opponent to prepare us for the following round against the “big boys”.
3. Again, an admission of “Boy was I wrong”. In this regard, I was very wrong about the forecheck when I was it wasn’t going to be there. It was and in spades.
Bruins it is!
Strap yourselves in folks! This is going to be quite a series, hopefully nothing like the last time we got ruined by the Bruins.